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America's Festering Wound: Vietnam

by: Carina Sauter

America's Festering Wound: Vietnam HIST 2112

Marketplace > University of Georgia > History > HIST 2112 > America s Festering Wound Vietnam
Carina Sauter
GPA 3.79

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About this Document

These notes discuss Dr. Rohrer's lecture on the lead up to the Vietnam, the many losses the US faced, and the outcome of the war in the greater Cold War
American History Since 1865
Dr. Rohrer
Class Notes
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Carina Sauter on Tuesday April 12, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 2112 at University of Georgia taught by Dr. Rohrer in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 4 views. For similar materials see American History Since 1865 in History at University of Georgia.


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Date Created: 04/12/16
America’s Festering Wound: Vietnam • Continuing Question – guns or butter o Funding the cold war, containment, and Vietnam (guns) or funding liberal expansive government programs (butter)? o Its one or the other – government cannot fund both o Funding Cold War, containment and Vietnam war > domestic programs § Political and economic federal budget funds Vietnam War over LBJ’s programs • Involvement in Vietnam: The Early Years o The war is just another long term affair within the Cold War o Since end of WWII, geo-politics is defined by a bipolar situation – worldwide struggle for power and influence (Soviet Union vs US) § Each superpower wants to exert ideological, cultural, and political control § US and SU are trying to prevent the other from gaining influence § Policy of containment (Truman Doctrine) by US o Vietnam = colony of France since 1880’s § lucrative raw materials including rubber § 1950’s – unhappy with French imperialism • they took advantage of resources and people § Ho Chi Minh • Asian Colonel Sanders • Goal = independence from France – gains independence through communist military (Viet Minh) • SU pours money and resources to Vietnam to bring nominally Democratic South Vietnam into the Communist fold § May 1954 – communist defeat French – no longer a colony • Vietnam now divided into North and South nations at 17 th parallel: demarcation line o Split Vietnam does not work – civil war (North communists being aggressor) § Civil war starts and we enter scene – JFK provides advisors to help South Vietnam while SU supports North Vietnam § Mid-late 1950’s: domino theory • Feat that if the Southern Vietnamese fall to communism than the rest of the Southeast Asia will fall to come o Need containment • Most Americans believe in this theory and support the cause o Mid 1960’s § Raging war in Vietnam between North and South § President Johnson and Congress: we need to enter conflict in more committed manner than advisors nd § Summer of 1964: On August 2 , Communist soldiers on land fire on US Navy ships in the Gulf of Tonkin for a couple days • Escalation and Vietnam War (late 1964-1968) o Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (1964) § Johnson asks Congress to respond: members empower to “take all necessary measures” § Gave Johnson a blank check to wage a war § Chooses to escalate as a last resort – wanted butter and social programs originally o Early 1960’s: 100’s of thousands of troops § 1965: 185,000 soldiers in Vietnam § 1965 Operation Rolling Thunder: Long operation with sustained bombing – first targets military, then civilians later on § Holchimin Trail: series of 3000 miles of underground tunnels for Northern Vietnamese to support Vietcong in South Vietnam • Vietcong: communist supporters in South Vietnam • Attempt to bomb trail: more bombs dropped in Vietnam war than Allies used on Axis powers throughout WWII o much of which kept secret from Congress and American people o destruction, mass bombing, gorilla warfare o troops, resources, and money from US o War peaks in 1965 with 550,000 troops in Vietnam • Vietnam War Becomes “Unwinnable” war (1969-1971) o Unlike previous wars, there are few ground battle and a new type of warfare § Ambush/ night skirmishes § Don’t follow informal rules of war § Most died by stepping on land mines/ setting off booby traps o US military personnel had a hard time identifying the enemy § Vietcong spies pretending to be democratic supporters § Could not indiscriminately kill Korean civilians § Communists vs democrats o Decreasing popular support for War in US § Most unpopular war § Anti-war movement § Not just left wing, young population – by the end of the war, even older, conservative republicans did not support the war effort § Congress is much less likely to financially support the war and resource production by the end of the war o Vietnamization § : to turn the war over to the South Vietnamese Army and gradually withdraw US forces § We begin to pull out troops in 1969 § Policy by Richard Nixon (republican candidate from 1968 election) • Promised to bring “peace with honor” and bring a gradual end to the Vietnam war § By 1971, most US troops had been pulled out of Vietnam o War rages on for 4 more years with little assistance from US § North Vietnamese victory § 1975: Vietnam unites with no line separating North and South – communist nation § American embassy workers evacuated hours before nation made official • US losses: o Billions of dollars o 58,000 soldiers o influences of Great Society o respect in US government • Significance: o Long term commitment/ war within the Cold War o Did not win – we don’t like losing o First war to be so heavily televised § ABC, NCB, CBS – daily updates and set backs § American press played huge roll in public opinion § Media turned people to anti-war movement § Coming Home § The Deer Hunter § Born on the Fourth of July


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